This recipe is a good example of the pure, honest flavors that Landgoed Mariënwaerdt, a well-known Dutch country estate, is renowned for. Ostrich is a great alternative to most fatty festive foods because it has all the beefy flavor of red meat, but only 1/3 of the fat. The blackberry sauce makes the most of this lean meat, in much the same way that cranberry sauce does for turkey.
When we first saw this recipe in the winter section of Gerechten van de Heerlijkheid cookbook, we wondered why the authors used fresh blackberries in the winter, considering all that talk of "cooking with the seasons," but we didn't let it put us off. As fervent users of frozen fruit, which are available at every supermarket these days, we simply substituted blackberries from our deep freeze.
The juicy blackberry flavors really add interest and depth to the lean ostrich meat, while the celeriac mashed potatoes give the sweet comfort you need in the winter. This dish is festive enough to be served as a main for Christmas but could work equally well as an intimate dinner for two by halving the recipe.
For this recipe, you will need a potato masher, a sauce sieve, and a flame tamer (heat diffusion ring).
- 1 1/2 cups/300 g celeriac (cubed)
- 4 floury potatoes (cubed)
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 stick (100 g) butter (fridge-cold; cubed)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 shallots (finely chopped)
- 1 jar of wildfond (or concentrated stock; see tips below)
- 2/3 cup/150 ml red wine
- 3 tbsp. blackberry jam
- 1-inch/3 cm ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 box of blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 4 ostrich steaks
Cook the celeriac and potato cubes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander.
Add the thyme and 1/4 of the butter (25 g) and purée with a potato masher. Season to taste and keep warm.
Melt 1 tbsp. (15 g) of the butter in a frying pan.
Add the shallots and sauté over a low heat for 3 minutes.
Add the concentrated stock, red wine, blackberry jam, ginger and the cinnamon and bring to a boil.
Allow the sauce to simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes until it has reduced down to a third of its volume.
Sieve the sauce, pour it back into the saucepan and reheat for 1 minute.
Remove the sauce from the heat and quickly stir in 2 1/2 tbsp (35 g) of butter.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the blueberries to the sauce. Keep the sauce warm using a flame tamer. (If using frozen blackberries, make sure that the berries are warmed through before serving.)
Season the ostrich steaks with pepper.
Heat the rest of the butter in a frying pan and cook the meat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Wrap the steaks in aluminum foil until ready to serve.
Divide the mashed potatoes between four plates. Season the ostrich steaks with salt and place them on top of the purée. Spoon some of the blackberry sauce on top and serve.
Tip: The recipe calls for wildfond, a concentrated venison stock. Substitute the fond with glace de viande, or use regular venison—or beef—stock and reduce it down on the stove top for a more concentrated flavor. If you're using stock cubes, simply add less water than you normally would.
We've translated and adapted the recipe for this site and it has been published here with the permission of the publisher.